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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  March 24, 2013 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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this morning. my question. what are we going to do without chris hayes? no, seriously. is it time to eliminate the death penalty once and for all? plus, how art changes the lives of children and the brothers mcgill will play live here in nerd lar nerdland. the supreme court and marriage equality. how we finally got to this historic moemtd. moment.
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good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. i often recount the story of my father. a long time activist who always signed my birthday cards, even when i was a very young girl, with the phrase, the struggle continues, daddy. it was his reminder to me and to all of his children that we are part of a long effort for greater freedom and equality and our struggles rarely begin or end in a single lifetime. struggle, well, continues. but sometimes you end up in the generation that has an extraordinary opportunity to be alive when the watershed comes and when everything changes. it seems like many people realize we are in such a moment right now. because they are already lining up outside the u.s. supreme court building in d.c. hoping to gain access to the public seating of this week's oral arguments on two cases consequential to the future of
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marriage ee kwaumt. on tuesday, the highest court will hear the legal challenge to proposition 8 amending the constitution in 2008 to bar same sex couples from getting married. it will have the most significant effect on whether any state can forbid marriage equality. it also offers the greatest potential to expand marriage equality across the country. the next day the court takes up the constitutional conflict in the 1996 defense of marriage act or doma which defines federal acknowledgment of same-sex marriag marriages. at stake? federal marriage benefits for those who are legally married. the arguments laid out before the nine justices this week will establish a furd precedence for the next chapter for the fight in marriage equality. this is a watershed moment. but it is just part of a long and continuing struggle because the struggle has already been quite long. in the summer of 1969, five days
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of riots sparked by the aggressive anti-guy police action in new york city founded a battle cry that helped to launch the guy rights movement. a year later, a couple in minnesota was denied a marriage license because state law limited marriage to persons of the opposite sex. their case made to the u.s. supreme court back in 1972. it was dismissed without so much as a written opinion. the court ruled that same sex couples have no constitutional rights married and that the legal challenge itself failed to raise a substantial federal question at all. but the struggle continued. it would be another 14 years before the supreme court would issue a major ruling on civil rights for gay americans in bour versus hard wig. in the summer of 1982, michael baurs was arrested and charged by atlanta police by committing a private act with another adult man in his own bedroom. his case made it to the high court in 1986 where georgia's law criminalizing adult gay male
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couples for engaging in private consensual sexual acts was upheld. it was not until 203 that that decision was overruled when the court recognized the constitutional right to privacy for lesbian and gay individuals. the struggle still continues. ten years after bowers, hawaii supreme court found the state ban own same-sex marriage violated its constitution. almost immediately shall the state specific ruling sparked campaigns across the country to deny marriage rights to same sex couples. launching a preemptive strike against marriage equality more than 30 states passed defense of marriage laws putting pressure on the federal government to follow suit and in 1996, president bill clinton, the democrat, he signed the federal defense of marriage act restricting the definition of marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. even with a democrat in the white house, the struggle continued. it was not until 200 that vermont became the first state
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to legalize same sex civil unions. massachusetts then issued marriage licenses to same sex couples. but the struggle did not abate. as many states responded with constitutional amendments. a few local governments, including san francisco began granting licenses to same sex couples. on election night, as they elected the first african-american president of the united states, born of an interracial marriage, on that night california voters chose president barack obama and passed proposition 8. stripping same sex california couples of their freedom to marry. which is what made this moment so extraordinary. president obama who just a few months before had articulated his own support for marriage equality stood on the steps of the capitol immediately after taking the oath of office for the second time and articulated that lbgt rights are part of the freedom and fairness in america.
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>> we the people, declare today that the most evident of truths that all of us are created equal. is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebearers through selma and stone wall. so here in nerdland with us to mark this moment in the struggle is california congresswoman and senior democratic whip, barbara lee. alongside the great kenji yoshi yoshino, professor at new york's university law school. lisa dug began, professor of cultural and social analysis. darlene nipper, executive director of the national gay and lesbian task force. thank you for being here. where are we in this moment? what is this moment, darlene? >> it's an incredible moment. i think as you said, it's a watershed moment for our country. the fact that the highest court in the land is looking at an
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issue about our rights, for me, it seems as though we have come to this point where we recognize that this is the civil rights issue of our time, if you will. it's so critically important. and at the same time, regardless of what happens at the court, as you said, this has been a long trajectory of history toward equality for everyone. i think it will continue to evolve beyond whatever the decisions are made by the court. >> it's a long trajectory, yet there's a sort of rapidness of what happened in just this moment. when you're looking at "washington post" data, a recent poll about support for marriage equality, 58% of americans support marriage equality. that is up 21 points since 2003, in one decade. among those under 30, 81%, a consensus position. yet, kenji when i looked at "the new york times" this morning, there was a piece suggesting that the court may be too far
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out in front. that this is like the roe v. wade moment that maybe they should rule as narrowly as possible. it feels like me that americans are in front of the policy at this point. >> i think there's some truth in point. if you do a state count which is often how the supreme court analyzes the issues. there are nine states plus the district of columbia that permit same-sex marriage. 41 states ban it. the time when it was decided in 1967, only 16 states banned interracial marriage as opposed to 41 with same-sex marriage now. from that perspective, you can see the court as being way ahead of public opinion if you do a certain nose count of the states. it's not necessarily obvious that that's the way the supreme court should analyze public consensus. there's a separate question whether it should be i am permable at all and do what's right shall let the skies fall. assuming we know the court is a political institution to some extent, we could say if you look at the polling, 90% of people in
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the year that it was decided, we're still opposed to interracial marriage. if you look at the data as opposed to the state count, you get a very different picture. whether the court is ahead or behind depends on what metrics they're using to gauge public opinion. >> congressman lee, i think part of it has been surprising, the movement is happening or not, is that california is at the center of this, particularly around the proposition 8. california feels like the blue beacon on the west coast and yet, in 2008 there was a decision on the one hand to choose president obama and then to also choose proposition 8. how do we understand that? >> oftentimes, of course california is way out front on so many issues related to equality and social change. but when you look at the contradictions. when you look at for instance, proposition 209 which ended affirmative action in california. i mean, california, we said you know, african-americans,
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latinos, asian pacific americans do not have equal opportunity to go to state universities and state employment and state contracting. those contradictions are still there. one thing about california is we fight it out. bee debate it and put the issues up front to really come to some resolve. i just have to -- in listening to your introduction, remind us of dr. king's statement when he said the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. i think in california we recognize that and we're going to fight it out until justice is done for everyone. >> it's interesting that both you and darlene shall the language of civil rights and a discourse of civil rights and part of what i did when my dad was signing the struggle continues, he was talking quite specifically about african-american civil rights and i think also questions of poverty. but the notion of defining lgbt movements as civil rights movements has bumped up against a lot of anxiety, stress and
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irritation by people in racial civil rights movement who think this is the wrong way to discuss and think about it. darlene? >> sure. i think this is a critical point. but the reality is that there are people in this country who live at the intersections of all of these issues. >> amen. hello. say that again. yes. >> we can't really split this up in that way. it's time for us to move further towards a broader social justice view, such as what you were saying in your introduction. this is a long arc and we're moving -- not just about marriage equality. although this is a critical aspect of law that i think we should not deny people the right that other people have. but it's beyond that. it's about everyone having the ability to live freely in our society and i think that's the point i'm making when i make that connection between civil rights. >> let me ask you about that. how much beyond marriage is this? marriage is one part of it. but it's only one part of.
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>> as we've learned from the history of civil rights and women's rights that substantive equality does not necessarily follow directly on the heels of civil rights achievement. you get brown v board but you don't necessarily get desegregated schools. >> quite the opposite. >> right. the focus on the legal right, while totally understandable because equal rights under the law seems like a basic starting point for any kind of egalitarian politics. it's a piece. one of the things -- i think that the analogy made to abortion is quite instructive. the energy with ruth bader ginsburg this morning. one of the problems with the way abortion has evolved as an issue was that it was disarticulated from broader reproductive justice issues. so that abortion sort of became like a consumer right that an individual could purchase approximate she could afford it. >> yep. >> other people would lose the right because it wasn't understood as a matter of
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justice. it was understood as a kind of consumer right. with marriage, the same danger is there. that the legal right to access to marriage as it now exists is kind of the end point. even though we won't get there now, we'll get there eventually. rather than understanding that a broader way of recognizing household and partnership rights beyond marriage only is a substantive goal of our social movement. >> that is exactly what i want to come back on. because the freedom to marry ought not to be an imperative to marry. as we come back, there are new folks jumping on the bandwagon every day. welcome aboard hillary. nice to have you. we're here! we're going to the park! [ gina ] oh hey, dan!
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lgbt americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones. and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. that includes marriage. that's why i support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. i support it personally and as a matter of policy and law. >> that was, of course, former secretary of state hillary clinton officially switching her position on marriage equality in a video for the human rights campaign this week. as a presidential candidate in 2008, she was explicitly opposed to same-sex marriage favoring instead civil unions. clinton joined a growing tide of politicians would are coming out in favor of marriage equality. dozens of prominent republicans, including the top advisers to former presidents george w. bush and former governors and members
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of congress have all signed on to a legal brief arguing in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. notably, ohio senator rob portman emerged as a supporter of same-sex marriage last week, making him the only sitting republican senator to publicly support the right to marry for gay men and lesbians. republicans aren't the only ones having a change of heart. the majority of americans, 58%, think it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to wed. supporters up 21 points since 2003. kenji, on the one hand, we've got what is clearly a growing tide in consensus around marriage equality. as soon as i find myself in a political allied relationship with rob portman, i say okay, let's just reevaluate what's happening here. talk to me. what does a win mean? if portman is on my side. i'm thinking maybe this marriage
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win is in fact something different than what i thought it was. maybe an imperative toward a certain kind of you must be married, you must sort of follow this set of rules. >> i'm not so sure if that's true, melissa. it's always dangerous to disagree with you. we're really looking at an overlap. i think that the next generation is going to be what's tricky. marriage in some sense an easy get because it's what my colleague at miu calls a responsibility right. it's not just a bunch of rights. it's also a bunch of entitlements. when you think about the don't ask, don't tell litigation, i used to be puzzled given that they give deference to the military. because it's a responsibility right. because it's about people wanting to serve their country and it's very hard to turn somebody away who wants to serve their country on the basis of sexual orientation. i think for this generation, because of the nature of the right where it bears both rights and responsibilities and as we
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heard portman say in his sound bite, it's about binding together people in stable relationships that this is something that's going to play well with both the right and the left. i think what you're getting at is the generation after this, which is after marriage equality becomes the law of the land as i firmly believe it will in fairly short order. what happens with respect to individuals who choose not to marry, right? >> yep. >> rights have a channeling function. once you have the right, it's the only road to respectability. right after the slaves were emancipated and they got the marriage right, prior to that, we had a panoply of ways to relate to each other. jumping over a broom stick or effectively -- people were being moved from plantation to plantation. after marriage became a possibility for the slaves, if you married, you're respectable. if you weren't, you weren't respectable. it which they ared away. i'm less troubled by that. there are many people troubled. >> when i tell that long struggle story, part of the
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value of kwooer politics, for folks not in the academy, that's not a slur. it's a self-defining term of not normative. it made our politics different. to think about family constructed in new and different ways. once we had marriage, it's critical and important. but it also feels like an imperative. >> the conservatives signing on to the marriage equality movement is not surprising. i think there was a moment where it became politically possible for them to do so. i don't think there was a lot of a substantive barrier beyond the religious objection. a long time ago, people like david brooks advocated same-sex marriage because it's a moral good. if we look at that, we can see marriage as a one size fits all institution, is a conservative institution. that just fitting gay couples into that one size fits all
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institution does not necessarily provide new ways of imagining or distributing our household and partnership recognitions. if you look at the ways in which marriage promotion has been used within the context of welfare reform, for instance, as a way of promoting marriage among poor women in order to privatize the social safety net. to say rather than providing you with benefits, we want you to get married and husbands will provide benefits and that's -- we're going to push you, spend money promoting marriage because of seeing marriage as a kind of conservativizing institution. also from an economic point of view, a privatizing of social services. it had been slash, slash, slash, the idealization of marriage has rocketed. >> no immediate for universal health care where the health care is yours. get it your spouse. >> when we come back, regular
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m congressman, i want to ask about housing rights and discrimination and the other laws that i don't know that folks know are on the books of the we'll talk about them when we get back. we might be having the wrong fight right now. what are you doing? licking the cream off these oreo cookies. that's stupid. you're wasting the best part. shuh, says the man without a helicopter. wait, don't go! [ male announcer ] choose your side at
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yes, maybe a little bit over here. this spring, take on more lawn for less. not bad for our first spring. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get ortho home defense, a special buy at just $6.88. today marriage equality is the law of the land in nine states. with the emphasis currently folk youed on gaining ground on marriage equality, it remains in 34 states. that is, in the majority of our country, the employment discrimination is legal. let me say that one more time. employment discrimination is legal on the basis of gender identity or expression. in 30 states it is legal to deny a person housing based on their sexual orientation or gender presentation. while we hope that marriage rights are extended to all sooner rather than later, there
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are many other fundamental issues facing lgbtq americans right now. is there impulse within congress right now. not just for the freedom of marriage to address the fundamental inequality in our laws. >> there's no fundamental given the nature of -- >> congress can do much of anything. >> i think several indicators are there that we need to look at. for example, the violence against women act. look at how long it took to get that passed. you know what part of the problem was, it was because the lgbt community was covered in the -- and native american women. finally got it passed, president signed it into law. it was really a very sobering kind of moment to really realize that there were those fighting against domestic violence prevention and services because lgbt community was covered. in california, for exam exam,
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i'll remember when i was elected to the legislature, the very first bill that i believe i co-sponsored was ab-101. this goes back to the early '90s. what the bill said is there shall be nondiscrimination in the workplace and employment based on sexual orientation. let me tell you in california it was an uphill battle. we got hate mail, there were assaults. we finally got it passed and signed into law. now when you look at hate crimes, when you look at bullying, when you look at certain issues that we want to take on in congress, it's very difficult to even get what we call a rule to bring these bills to the floor. elections have consequences. >> indeed. >> we have to really understand that what we have to do next time around. >> this is part of it, darlene. the agenda as we -- so no one needs to say marriage is done. marriage is coming, right? we feel like we're on the trajectory for that? >> sure. >> how do we put the rest on the agenda? >> the rest is on the agenda.
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that's the important thing to understand. we are working for the issues that the representative is talking about. i mean obviously the community has been working for 20 years for -- >> 40. >> but for employment nondiscrimination at the federal level, just as one example. those things are on the floor. they're the things that we're work on. we're working to ensure that kids are not bullied in school, we're working to ensure that people can feel safe in their neighborhoods and i believe that there's a connection between the freedom to marry and those issues. partly because we're talking about the law here but we also need to talk about visibility and acceptance in society. and i do think that the fact that this is a normative institution in our society, that it opens up and continues to move people's hearts and minds to recognize us as human beings, to recognize that we are a part of the community. we are your neighbors, we are your friends and co-workers and so on. that's an important piece of the work that's being done. in addition to the actual laws
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that we're attempting to change to ensure that people are not discriminated against. >> i have a niece finishing up college now who is african-american, gay and gender nonconforming in herself presentation. i want her to be able to marry someday if she wants to. that's fine. the thing that worries me and keeps me up is concerns about violence, right? that she as a young woman who other people may first not recognize as a young woman and then become angry when they -- like my fear is that she'll be walking the streets of chicago or in south florida or any of those things and experience violence. i just -- i want us to celebrate marriage but then not lose that. >> i think you're absolutely right. we have to continue to work for it. we have to use these moments to do what i think of as a pivot to actually do what you're doing right now, which is saying we need to talk about this. we also need to recognize that people are actually still, makes me emotional. being murdered. >> yes. >> because of who they are and who they love.
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>> yes. >> that's the message we need to get across. i'm really glad that you brought that up about your familiar hi member. it's the kind of thing that my mother worries about. this is what we're worried about. we walk down the street being perceived as a person who is different as a person who appears to be not clear whether you're male or female, as though you need to be some sort of gender expression to begin with. if you're not that, it's okay for me to not only discriminate but to be violent toward you, to actually harm you because you're so different. that's why i think it's important for us to not lose these watershed moments so to speak around the actual laws and changes that we're making in policy to actually begin to talk about the realities of our lives. it is a scary and painful reality that people are still being beaten, people are still being murdered. >> everybody, i promise, we're going to come back. darlene is leaving us. thank you so much for having
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it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is [ angry gibberish ] we are talking about the struggle for lgbtq rights. the power of story has been. those people and characters that have bravely shared personal stories have helped us in the arc of this movement. wilson cruz has been an important part of that process. most well-known for his role in the groundbreaking drama, my so-called life which i introduced my daughter to last night for the first time. vicky vasquez, the first gay teen character on primetime tv. wilson's character was a public service that left a lasting impression on a generation of americans. joining us is wilson cruz, spokesperson for glad. what is the role of story as we continue to move forward in the struggle? >> i think the best way to --
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best example is when we look at the poll that came out, that 81% of them support same-sex marriage. we really cannot deny the fact that the reason for that is they grew up at a time when they were being -- they were in front of their television sets and seeing films and reading newspapers that were telling the stories of lgbt people. i still to this day have people come up to me, some of them on your staff, who say you were the first lgbt person i know. we cannot overstate how powerful that is when someone walks through a story and experiences a life on their television screens in their home. they really understood who we are as a people. so now they're voters. >> yep. >> now they're legislators and running the country. so story is important because we get into the heart and the mind of people. that's why i work at glaad,
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right? that's what glaad does. it's telling the story to make the cultural change so that the political change can actually stick. earlier, you were talking about brown v education. the fact that it didn't stick, we're avoiding that in the movement. we're telling the stories that stay in people's hearts so that when the laws are passed, they'll stick. >> it's interesting. i think we sometimes down play the cultural piece, but representative lee, you and i were talking in the makeup room that you were the first black cheerleader on your high school team. i'm clapping because i was a high school cheerleader. on one hand, you think what difference does it make if the cheerleading team is integrated? in fact, it does make a difference for us to be participating with one another in these so-called normative spaces in order to like generate that sense of familiarity. >> sure. it makes a big difference. because people have to identify. this is a diverse country, first of all. people have to identify on all fronts and when i went to high
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school, there were african-american, latino and asian pacific american students. but the criteria, you had to be blond and blue-eyed to be a cheerleader. that's what the rules were. you had to go before this committee and they screened you out if you didn't look like that. fortunately, i went to the naacp. the young girls then could try out in front of the student body. we all tried out and the student body voted and i won. that was my first election. >> now you're a congresswoman, right? exactly. >> you have to be able to identify with people and that empowers you. that gives you the self-confidence and the inspiration to be able to move forward with your life and realize that you're part of this great beautiful american fabric. >> this is part of were coming out has been part of political
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strategy, both about personal strategy and political strategy. >> well, yes. i mean, i wanted to jump had here on a slightly different frame and say that the stories are extremely important. it's also important whose stories get told and circulated. so one thing i'd like to add to culture in politics is money. because the money, the movement has gone so overwhelmingly towards marriage equality that some of the other stories and issues have been less -- those stories have been less often told and less often circulated. money that goes to poverty to dealing with lgbtq people in homeless shelters to dealing with homeless people on the streets, immigrants, deportation, that the money to help us tell those stories and help the people who are, in fact, being hurt economically the worst, that sometimes the marriage equality movement takes up so much space -- >> the oxygen in the room. >> that these other stories don't get the financial bearing
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in order to be circulated so that they can be included alongside the things that we are paying attention to. >> that's what we're going to come back to. glaad is recognizing the ways it's been limited in the extensive storytelling, the way that there are still limitations. thank you for being here and pushing us in this direction. when we come back, we'll talk about how glaad is making room under the big tent for the dangling t on the lgbt movement. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. our financial advice is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. life brings obstacles. usaa brings retirement advice. our largest selection of lobster entrees, like lobster lover's dream or new grilled lobster and lobster tacos. come in now and sea food differently. visit now
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glaad no longer stands for -- the glaad organization will stand up for transgender equity. joining me now at the table are two guests from the transgender community, mel wie more is a city council candidate from manhattan's upper west side and janet mock is a writer and activist and a big favorite among the nerdland staff who have been fan girling her for about two days. let's start by just asking, when glaad -- part of the -- to stand in for glaad here. when glaad says we're taking on transgender issues, what do they see that as? what are the primary questions facing communities? >> let's be clear about a few things. the number of murders and the violence taking place against trans-people around the world is
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disgusting and has to stop. and the images of trans-people in our media is exactly where media images of gay and lesbian people were 20 years ago. and national organizations have been -- have not done a very good job at all in dealing with trans-issues. so glaad wants to be at the forefront and really urge the rest of the nation's national organizations to say this is our community too. let's also be clear that if it were not for the trans community, this movement would not have happened. let's go back and do the work that we should have been doing all along. i want to tell you a story if i could. >> okay. >> this past fall was the trans-day of remembrance. it really drove home for me this
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issue which was on -- we honor the people lost, who were murdered across the world. part of the ceremony in west hollywood. we were given a person's name and story and how they were murdered. i happened to have been handed someone's name and story. i went up and read it. this person had no name. they didn't know the person's name. they knew that she was brutally attacked and murdered and stabbed 11 times. happened to have happened on my birthday of that year. to me, i don't know. i believe in god. i think that was a sign to me. really god was telling me, this is you. this is your story. this woman was you. as a gay man, as a latino man, i know what it feels like to be bullied, to have somebody tell me who i'm supposed to be. that's what this woman was experiencing. >> janet, i know you chose not to go to the glaad awards. >> yes. >> in part, because this position is new for glaad. we won an award for a panel and
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yet, i also got a lot of e-mails afterwards that said hey, great panel on trans questions but what about trans people of color, what about trans-views, what about the question of economic inequality for trans machine men and women. as much as glaad or sisters like me trying to be good allies. we end up blind to a ton of privileges. what do we need to know? >> we need to know that when we read the names on trans day of remembrance, it's one day of the year. when we say trans people, we can't pretend it's a monolith. this is trans woman, specifically trans women of color. we need to break that down. >> who are most vulnerable. >> most vulnerable to police brutality and violence and who are engaged in sex work because this society does not equate our womanhood to any kind of humanhood in any kind of sentence. so i get a little heated when i have these discussions because i feel like we need to start
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spelling out who is at risk. we need to redefine what equality is. if we're defining equality as something that is scarce and limited and is for a very select few in our community and some of us need to wait a little bit, that is not equality. that's upholding, very systematic systems of oppression. >> so let's get this done first. >> yes. trans women of color are not included in many media images. we're talked about as if we're victims and that is all we are. when i know many trans women out there will doing amazing work who get a fraction of the limelight that i get and i don't even get that much limelight. i am gagging right now that i am on nerdland seriously. so i am heated and i'm very interested to have this conversation about what true equality is. >> let me ask you, i know that your perspective as a politician. you're running for office.
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>> part of it is like i'm trying to be a guy to represent the whole constituency. i am a trans man but i'm a candidate for office. >> that's right. i'm very lucky. because i come from a liberal community, the upper west side of manhattan. i've been embraced twice as the community board chair. the work that we have done as an open transgender leader of that community, while focusing on all inclusiveness while serving in the school, our parks, small businesses, housing options, allowing for a dialog around gender and orientation together at the same time really has broken down the barriers and built bridges. not in a direct way but more indirect by working together and getting to know each other and we've created even more include sift on the west side where gender and gender expression are less an issue about otherness and disappearing all together on the west side. that's something we need to work on both ways. we need to acknowledge that
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there are people who are really hurting and we need to fight for laws that protect us and we also need to be out there as lgbt representatives serving the entire community, making sure that all people are included, all voices are heard. there are many doors of inequity, right? come through many doors. if we together decide that the goal is created truly inclusive community where we can advocate for each other, rights on color, rights on disabilities, special needs, seniors who feel invisible in our society, if we come together to make it an inclusive community, we're accomplished. >> we're going to take a quick break and do more on this. i want to talk about the issues of intersection at when we come back. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom.
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a republican lawmaker in the
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state of arizona, home to the original papers immigration law is pushing a bill to make the same demands upon those who identify as transgender. the bill would criminalize the use of public restrooms, dressing rooms or locker rooms for anyone whose gender identity does not match the sex listed on their birth certificate. violation of the proposed law would result in a six-month prison sentence and a $2500 fine. and it would, in particular, target transgender people who face hurdles to obtaining identity documents that match their gender and name. kenji, law does not deal with this intersection between race and gender and identity and gender identity very well, does it? >> no, doesn't at all. actually the landmark work and this was done by a scholar named kimberly crenshaw. what she discovered was she took these employment discrimination cases where african-american women were being discriminated
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against. when we analyze this, we're going to compare white men to white women and then analyze next as a race issue and compare white men to black men and we see no problems. who falls between the cracks there? >> me. yes, right. >> you can run the statistical regressions that african-american woman are systematically disadvantaged. the law is a blunt instrument that perceives one axis as a team. you won't find legal redress even in a world with discrimination protection. >> just talking about okay as we move into lgbt equality movement beyond marriage, to these other pieces, we have arizona passing discriminatory laws that can mean your life, right? the issue of bathrooms and locker rooms and these spaces are spaces of violence for trans women in particular. >> yes. as a woman of color who is trans, i know intimately what it is like to be neglected and to
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feel as if i'm violently being exiled out of many spaces. and for me personally, it's difficult talking about these issues because i need our community, meaning the lgbt community, not to just say we need straight allies, but we need to see alliship as something that needs to be practiced internally movementwide. meaning that, gay and lesbian people gain gaining these rights and to people of color. what i immediate from these people is to fight for access to health care coverage, for protection when i'm looking to use the restroom, when i'm looking for housing, employment and education. and also legal and social recognition that trans women are women that trans men are men and some choose not to identify with either and self-determination is okay. >> look, this point about
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alliship, mel, i was thinking about this as a matter of politics when we were doing the voting right and the question of voter suppression in the context of the election. we're talking about race, the trajectory of the civil right movement. trans women don't have identity markers, i.d. cards that match what their self-presentation is. if you have to presentation your drivers license to vote, you might in fact be disenfranchised from being able to vote because that face doesn't match what i'm looking at here. >> absolutely. sometimes it takes year to make that transition in documentation and changing your name, changing your gender. distinguish distinction. for example, in arizona, it's almost impossible to get your gender designation changed. in new york, it's a fairly simple process. basically go through a name change and social security will actually let you do that without a birth certificate change. but in arizona -- >> you have to get a birth certificate change, which is a
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very lengthy process. i'm actually from arizona. i dare say that i would have a more difficult time running for city council there than i am on the upper west side of manhattan. that's not a coincidence. because we are progressive community and we're going to lead the way in terms of building inclusive communities where everyone is counted and valued and allowed to pursue their happiness without the bias and discrimination you see everywhere else. >> i'm going to give you the last word. glaad is about representations and ha matters. but also wanting to say both to glaad and hrc and to the, particularly to the gay male sort of a agenda setters ln lgbt politics, let's make sure we're addressing the broader sets of concerns. >> exactly. that conversation is a long time coming. you know, i'm sitting next to janet and i'm hearing her passion and i want her and the transgender community to know i stand with them. so has glaad. maybe we haven't done the best
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possible job to this point. but we are committed to this issue. we are allies and are a part of our movement. like i said earlier, this movement wouldn't have happened in the '60s and '70s if transgendered people didn't start it. let's get to work and we invite the transgender community to come back to us. if they've left us and to say work with us and tell us how to do this. we're not going to dictate how this work needs to be done. >> janet, your point that there isn't one single transgender community. there are monoliths. >> exactly. jennifer lopez goes by j-lo. she's still jennifer lopez. it's more than a name change. it takes a regime change in terms of hiring trans women of color to be on staff to address thei the issues. >> being a good ally means shutting up. sometimes i have to do that. you got to let other folks talk. if you watch the show, it's hard
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for me. thank you to mel andian et and wilson. kenji is of course, sticking around. coming up next, the first man to narrowly escape death hanks to dna evidence? how his fight is helping others. the mcgill brothers perform live in nerdland. there is more nerdland at the top of the hour. vorite foods fi? fight back fast with tums. calcium-rich tums starts working so fast you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums you'll forget you had heartburn.
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good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. there hasn't been an execution of a prisoner in maryland since 2005. but now in 2013 shall the death penalty in maryland itself may be all but dead. the maryland house voted 82-56 on march 15th to repeal and replace it with penalty of life without parole. the maryland state senate passed the bull a few weeks ago so all that's left is the signature of democratic governor martin o'malley who promised to sign it into law at the end of the session on april 8th. writing in an op-ed governor o'malley wrote that capital
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punishment is expensive an the evidence tells us it does not work as a deterrent. he cited the most recent fbi statistics that showed in 2011, the murder rate in states that kill their own prisoners exceeded the rate in states prohibited from killing prisoners. that is simply what it is, right? a state killing its own prisoners who you remember are people and sometimes those people are, in fact, innocent. a maryland man was almost among those innocent victims until he became the first american on death row to be exonerated by dna evidence. this is how kirk blood worth seen here in the blue shirt reaching for the sky reacted to the maryland house vote to repeal the death penalty. yes, folks, that is how you react when you've worked this hard to get rid of the death penalty in your state that once almost took your own life. joining me now are congressman barbara lee of california, a state which still has legal death penalty.
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nyu law professor kenji yoshino. barry shekt, co-director of the innocence project and the man in the photo. kurt bloods worth, an advocacy director at witness to innocence. i want to start with you. tell me a little bit about how your story turned into your work. >> well, in 1984, i was accused of a brutal crime that happened in maryland. a long story short, after two years on death row thanks to people like barry here, we submitted for the dna testing. i was freed. it took another ten years to -- from pressure from barry and i and others to do a dna testing. this was all based on a guy described as 6'5", bushy mustache, tan skin. in the end he was only 5'6" and 160 pounds. but i have been -- i had
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realized early on in my incarceration in this whole thing that an innocent person could be executed. and i could never support a death penalty with that happening. we have 142 exonerated death row inmates in the united states. a lot of them are members of witness innocence, the group did on advocacy. that moment in that photograph -- >> a great one. >> lifting everybody up and it was the most unique thing i've ever experienced. >> barry, i want to talk about dna and innocence for a second. because feels like dna has become the kind of evidentiary basis on which we've finally been able to say, really, this person did not commit this crime. yet, even as i listen to kirk tell the story, the fact that it begins in part because of faulty bases of evidence, dna matters to me. but i want to be sure we can
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begin to talk about in the sense without the one turning point that is dna. >> the key point to understand is that dna is only present in less than 10% of serious felony cases. so what about the other 95% of cases where it's based on eyewitness identification. there were five mistaken witnesses in kirk's case. as kirk said, the real assailant didn't look like him and they were in the same jail cell for a period of time. it's incredible. we have false confessions. we have the intractable problems of race. we have indigent defenders not adequately funded. here we are in the 50 anniversary of gideon and that's a promise unfulfilled. we have forensic science. i'm happy to say that finally it appears after a landmark report by the national academy of
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sciences the only forensic assay, dna testing. they criticize severely, fingerprints, bite marks, tool marks on bullet, all kind of other forensic assays that haven't been adequately validated and some may not be validatable. finally now we have a national commission with national institute of standards and technology and the department of justice and we're going to have 30 people appointed to that starting soon. so some progress has been made but the real significance of dna, it's been a learning moment for the criminal justice system and we realize how riddled with error this system is in the first place. >> it feels like, if kirk didn't do it and was convicted on it, the problem isn't just missing dna test. it was all of these other pieces. i also heard you say the intractable problem of race. we can't talk about death penalty without talking about race. i want to make clear how important that particular al kem i is.
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it's not that african-american americans are more likely to get the death penalty. it has to do the victim and vic -- >> the victim in a murder, if they're white, you're for more likely to get capital punishment whether the defendant is black or white. that race effect has long been in place. there was a case that justice powell got off o the court and said he really made a bad decision in this mcincludes ki case. so many things would be different if he could take that back. there are race effects. what we should mention, one very clear case that's now in texas that defendant named duane buck and this is really illustrative. nobody is saying he's innocent. but at his sentencing proceeding, there literally was expert testimony that said he
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would be violent, he was a risk for future danger just because he was african-american. even senator corning, when he was attorney general identified nine cases and buck's was one of them, that all of them except buck case were set aside and got resentencing. dwayne buck should get a new hearing. >> kenji, i want to come to you on another thing. 50 years since gideon. that's an unfulfilled promise. i mow in the land of constitutional law, that makes perfect sense. remind us what gideon is and why we're unfulfilled 50 years later. it's effective witness of counsel and the guarantee you will have effective a sis taps of counsel. the reason it's not fulfilled, one is over the definition of what effe what effect tiff means. if we retrace, there's an uptick of states repealing it.
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the supreme court has handed down cases under the 8th amendment striking down aspects of the death penalty. we have atkins case and 2002, 2005, not so long ago. -- you can see it going either way. ultimately this is the way the court is going to give new life to the -- say this is violative of the constitution. or you can say we have checks in place, made the death penalty more fair, therefore, it is no longer cruel and unusual punish. ment we have to watch it closely. i don't think the outcome can clear. >> congresswoman lee, there's the law of it but the politics of it. even as i was talking about it, it's the issue of cost. if we can argue that it's too expensive to keep people on
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death row. it's the question of effective ts. is it really a deterrent? are we putting potentially people to death that are innocent. there's a part of me that wants to say if it was cost effective and if everyone were guilty, this is still fundamentally problematic as a policy. what are the politics that allow us to get not just the thin end of the wedge but the big part of the wedge through so that we're ending the death penalty. >> let me go back to california for example. in the late '70s, 71% of californians supported the death penalty. well, in 2012, about 52% of californians supported the death penalty. the naacp, thank goodness, took the lead in putting fort a proposition, proposition 34, in california on the last ballot in the last election. it failed. but only by 48 to 52%, again 52% still in california support the death penalty. >> right. >> but i share that because it's important to recognize that people finally are beginning to
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wake up. they're beginning to understand that it is not cost effective, does not increase public safety. life in prison without possibility of parole is the most prudent, effective, most effective punishment. right now, melissa, we're in the category of countries such as iran, iraq, saudi arabia, yemen, china, couple more. i think this is where america wants to be. i think we have a better way to approach penalties. no one is saying that criminals and people who commit murders should not be punished. but we're saying that we have to do this in a way that makes sense. >> that's exactly where i want to pick up when we come back. i think the innocence piece is a critical part of it, but i want to talk about the point you made. even if there's guilt and we're sure of it, should we be talking about the death penalty? that's next chlt. s magic?
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the framework of our national debate about the death penalty centers on whether or not there's innocent people on death row. that is a critical problem. the fact for me, that's the biggest problem is that there is a death row. i'm thinking about the night that troy davis was executed. and there was a lot of question about his innocence and there was an enormous outpouring. but lawrence brewer, the undoubted murderer of robert byrd was also -- james byrd was killed that might as well. and one is a black man killed for -- by the state for the murder of a white man and one is a white man killed for the murder in the state of a black man. no one -- only the sort of
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hardcore anti-death penalty people could put them together because we understood why it was unjust for davis. but i want aed to distress just as much that it was unjust for brewer as well even though we know he committed a heinous and horrible act. how do we get there? what is the argument that helps us get there? >> i have to say that interestingly enough, we have found out that the death penalty is not given to everybody equally. i know it's heinous murders happen, that everybody talked about it in maryland. there was some murders that were more important. you can't say the price of victims what they are. a lot of times when this thing happens, it's in this -- like the troy davis case, for instance. he was basically -- had i think nine people who said that he had committed this crime. in the end, there was only two that didn't retract their
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statements. one of them might have been the shooter. possibly in my opinion, they executed an innocent man. as for the other gentleman, i think honestly, we have to stop talking about, this is what's best for the country. i think in general we have to start killing our system. you were talking about sister half land -- why do we kill people to say killing is wrong? >> i think the argument in the end that's going to win the day in terms of morality is reasonable people can differ about whether capital punishment is the appropriate sanction for the most heinous of crimes. reasonable people can't differ about having a system that is just so riddled with error and so riddled with racism, frankly, in terms of deciding who lives and who dies and that really has been the difference. you know, it is not just the risk of executing the innocent.
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although, that has been an extremely powerful number. when you look at the california vote, i was surprised. california is the place where they're wasting so much money on a completely insane system and have so many people, over 700 people on the row and spend billions in the next few years and everybody knows it's dysfunctional. yet, when we analyze the vote, the biggest factor was the issue of innocence. it is a moral question. but the moral question comes down to how can you stand by a system that just can't get it right? people are going to begin to see it's not just getting it right on who is innocent or guilty. my god, there's a lot of question about that. we've executed innocent people, no doubt about it. cameron todd willingham in texas an excellent example. but if you begin to believe and understand as i think lawyers do, the american bar association, judges do, that we can't really decide who deserves
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to live and who deserves to die in a rational, coherent and moral way, that moral question is going to bring it all down. >> there's a constitutional question here as well, right? part of the reno owe this is 8th amendment. isn't just about ket death. it's about the way we put people to death. this is part of the phasing out of the electric chair and the moving in of lethal injection. but lethal injection turns out, is not the peaceful sort of not cruel thing that i think many americans may imagine that it is. >> absolutely. the constitutional standard as you said, it's cruel and unusual punishment. folks who want to preserve the death penalty say this is frozen in 1791. the death penalty was permissible in 1791, that's it for some. the other side of the equation goes to a case in 1958 that says we look at this according to the law being standards of decency of a maturing society.
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it's real by who we want to be, rather than who we were in 1791. my colleague, my former colleague, steven bride at yale law school used to say that we wouldn't be able to have a death penalty if everybody -- if one person were forced to make the decision, because once you're involved with the death penalty in any way you see the unfairnesses, whether it's with the mode of execution, lethal injection or with the punishment itself. what you're trying to hold as a moral center of saying don't say oh, if it weren't for the racial disparities, this would be okay. oh, if it weren't for innocent individuals being executed, this would be okay. let's go to the ultimate moral question, the political issue and say who are we as a society and do we really believe in this culture? what bright says is the closer you get to this thing and the more you understand it, the more you realize that this will be impossible unless it was disbursed among a wide swath of people. anyone who truly understood could not push that button and
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put that person to death under the conditions that are currently provided. >> the one person who might or be willing to, is the victim's families. i have a very, very clear position on this. they have constituents who say i have -- i have lost a son or daughter or a mother or a father. the only thing that is going to make me feel better is if there is state retribution. that's only the difficult issue. elected officials, especially have to address. we understand the pain and suffering of a lost one. i mean, who has been murdered. i mean, that's just n con -- unconscionable. executions and the death penalty do not create more public safety. this is not going to enhance our criminal justice system. this is not going to reduce homicides. we have had a warden at san
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quent quentin, she led the charge to rye to abolish the death penalty on proposition 34. she saw this firsthand what had taken place in terms of the fact that it had not increased public safety. of course, in proposition 34, there were victims' restitution efforts that we included where those who were convicted and had received a sentence of life in imprisonment without parole, have to work and their salaries, of course, would be paid to the victims' families. that's not much for the loss of a family member. it was an effort to acknowledge that this was wrong and we in no way believe by abolishing the death penalty and replace it, there's not still a need for punishment. finally, let me just say, we know it does not increase public safety. elected officials who will not understand that and who -- there are many who do this for political reasons, who support the death penalty and it's tough
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on crime you have to get rid of the murderers and that's how we win elections. >> absolutely. kirk, i want to ask you one last on this. how does it fit into a broader prisoner's right? we do a lot on prisons and the rights of offenders and ex-offenders. there's both the question of the death penalty but also in general how this fits into the experience of being in prison and what we think of as a just and reasonable way to incarcerate in prison. >> you know, i sat in prison for almost nine years and i have to tell you that if people were looking for a punishment to give a person, honestly, life without parole is no joke. i mean, this is your -- you're in this cell for killing a human being. you're not going to get out. i think it's the better part of valor to me as a human being. that shows us accountability. because the death penalty has given everybody, victims and the
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people it has not protected anyone in this country. i was standing in delaware recently, just testified in front of the senate committee to abolish the death penalty there. i told the police officers that were in the crowd, the death penalty has not tried to save you or me from anything, and that police chiefs say a majority of them say it's the least thing that will had help us as a society to protect us. >> thank you, kirk, for being here. >> my pleasure. >> thank you to barry and kenji. congresswoman lee will stay with us for a while. we're going to shift out and talk about.arts. clear it out. let's enjoy it. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love.
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forms of creative expression on the intellectual and social development of underprivileged and at risk children. joy, delight a sense of mastery and enhanced ability to make and sustain human and cognitive connections are all bolstered by art. one teacher didn't need to see the scientific reports of this. she knew how it worked. she took her work to harlem. take a look. >> blue card, white card, red card. what? >> and a purple card. >> i'm cindy, i am the founder and executive director of the time and children's arts initiative, which is an introduction to high art aesthetics for little kids. i've taken a program that was designed for really some of the most gifted, most well-positioned children in new york from very wealthy families and created this program so that
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children whose parents would never say oh, my child needs to learn opera would have the opportunity to do this program as part of their regular school day. so that every child gets an opportunity to do this. >> that's so cute. i know you like it. hey, look over there. >> we alternate weeks so that one week they're out in museums and galleries. we specialize in 20th and 21st century art. they go out like sotheby's and christy's interns. giving an opportunity for kids to get more and more chances to be kind of like the rest of the world. instead of being her met cli sealed in a community where they have little opportunity. >> it's fun. >> my favorite. >> as a first grade teacher at my school, i've noticed this impacted the students for many
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of them as life experiences getting out of the naseighborho. most only experience the area where they live. >> they're not easy lives that a lot of these kids live. art allows them to create a new kind of horizon. i've seen kids, they're like one day they're living in an apartment, the next day they come in, they're really blue because mom is not working and they're losing their apartment and going back to a homeless shelter. art allows them to take control of their interior lives and to put the other things that are not in their control at a distance. >> i have a student in my classroom who is shy. he did not say a word since september. with the children to me, he was just very shy. he doesn't like to talk. but today we invited his mom to come to the studio with us. while he was working on the project, painting, gluing, he was talking the whole time.
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>> yes. gold fits gold for me. i want to change the face of education. you can carry this kind of work much, much farther than we do right now. >> we want to change the world. >> we hope that you do change the world. our thanks to the administrators and the kids of time in. as we celebrate those budding young artists, i'd like to pay tribute to a literary giant we lost this week. the legendary, nigerian author died thursday at the age of 82. his first and most famous book was published in 1958, things fall apart. it was a classic of world literature. transforming the way we saw africa and the project of colonialism. it's still required reading in many parts of the world with ten million copies sold in 45 languages. he had a profound influence on american writers like tony morrison and juno diaz. his work will continue to inspire for generations to come.
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up next, the brothers who themselves are inspiring a whole new audience. come on, nowadays lots of people go by themselves. no they don't. hey son. have fun tonight. ♪ ♪ back against the wall ♪ ain't nothin to me ♪ ain't nothin to me [ crowd murmurs ] hey! ♪ [ howls ] ♪
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it's one thing to have one accomplished child, but the mcgill family has two. they're not only accomplished but oozing with talent. anthony and demarre mcgill serve as principal musicians in their respective companies. african-americans and latinos make up an estimated 4% of major orchestras. the brothers are also the only siblings to win the avery fisher career grant. it's one of the most prestigious award bestowed on artists. anthony mcgill performed at president barack obama's inauguration with yo-yo ma and others. how is that for making mom and dad proud? i'm pleased to welcome demarre mcgill, principal flute for the seattle symphony and his brother anthony mcgill principal
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clarinet for the metropolitan orchestra here in new york. still with us, congresswoman barbara lee is an accomplished high school pianist and her 80-plus-year-old mother is still trying to get you to practice regularly on the piano. >> let me ask you the question of the role that music played for you. ha did it do for you as kids? >> it taught us discipline. passion. it definitely bonded us as a family, as brothers. i mean, i really can't imagine my life without music honestly. >> one of the stories that i find most extraordinary is that your parents apparently mortgaged their home five separate times to be able to afford lessons for the two of you. meaning that you're not from a household of economic privilege, but you are from a household where parents did everything they had to do to make this possible for you. what are your parents thinking
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in this moment and what do you think about the sacrifices that they made? >> well, they sacrificed for us basically because they loved us. and we felt that love growing up and we felt that positivity. they never really talked about the money aspect of it with us that much, except the first time you wanted a $700 flute. >> they were like how much for the flute? that was early on, too. the instruments got more expensive as we went along. >> how did they know you were this talented? where did they discover this talent first? >> we come if a -- we definitely come from a creative household. so they involved us in a wide variety of activities. it just so happened i'm four years older. i think by the time he started playing, i had been playing the flute for about six years at that point. so i had time to discover that
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love. it just so happened when anthony picked up the clarinet, he was amazing right away. >> gifted. >> gifted in that way. congresswoman lee, i love that their parents and the way that you put it. they loved us so they sacrificed for us. when there's a child living on the south side of chicago, we're in the seventh ward of new orleans or in harlem and new york, if they don't have resources or don't have parents, no matter how much they love them, who can provide the resources, we have cut arts funding in the schools and communities, how do i make sure we don't lose the demarre's and anthonys of the next generation. >> first,th what an honor to meet you. i'm awed by both of you. you're such wonderful role models for all young people in our country. i serve on the appropriations committee. it's such an uphill battle when
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we talk about needing -- all young people have the best possible education, yet those are those who want to cut art, sports, right away. it doesn't make any sense. when we have such a small percentage of our funding going for the arts in public schools. and i remind my colleagues that academic achievement oftentimes is predicated on arts and on sports and on those activities in school that really generate the creative spirit and the creative mind of young people. and so most countries have artists integral to their culture. even cuba. countries, of course, this country doesn't especially care for. art and music is central to their society. for us in america to cut funding for music and for the arts to me is a shame and disgrace. because our young people need that. can you imagine if all young
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people had the opportunities to soar and to allow for their creative spirit to come forward. not everyone has a lot of money. >> doesn't mean they don't have a lot of talent. >> anthony, you're the younger and i'm the youngest in my family. by the time you pick up the clarinet, you have a model of an african-american family, an african-american brother who is playing the flute, but i wonder about that. it is surprising, it is still unusual to see african-american men playing classical music on the instruments that you play. how has race mattered or has it mattered not at all? >> i think our parents gave us a true sense of identity and we always connected with our identity. we know where we're from. they never taught us that we couldn't do anything or be anything that we wanted. race mattered only to us as far as being good role models and being -- our parents raising us
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to be strong role models. but as far as playing classical music, something that we fell in love with. they wanted us to do what we wanted to do. it didn't matter if it was predominantly of a different race. >> right. >> it was a field that if we loved it, good at it, they wanted us to go into it. it was never an issue as far as it being a barrier. they put it, presented it to us as being something we can strive for no matter what. no matter what obstacles there are. >> demarre, when you meet other young people or particularly if you're back home in chicago, do you find kids who have never even thought about these instruments as something that's on their option, on their menu? >> of course. i think option is the key word. they meet me, they meet anthony or any other classical musician. i would say especially if this classical musician they meet looks like them, it gives them an option. options are golden.
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few and far between. >> yep. >> we were talking about this in the context of lgbt movements. just the idea of people sometimes need the image. they need the visual in order to say i could embody that, i could be that. as the mother of a daughter who i keep trying to get to practice her violin every day, i appreciate it. because it's saying see, here is what is possible. stay right with us. when we come back, you two have promised to play for us, which thrills me. congresswoman lee, thank you for spending the day with us. >> it's wonderful to be here. maybe i'll go back and practice my piano. i was taught classical also. my mother sacrificed a lot. every saturday i had to take piano lessons. i loved it. i don't know why i stopped. i guess i got busy. >> knowing that you're the first african-american cheer leered and pianist, maybe we need a congresswoman lee day as well. up next, the mcgill brothers are going to perform live here in nerdland. contusions to the metacarpus.
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we are back with classical musicians anthony and demarre mcgill. you're both principals in different areas of the country. what is it like to play together sh. >> it's a spectacular opportunity to play with my little bro. >> are you competitive or collaborative? >> it's totally collaborative. i love playing with him. he has the best energy of anybody i play with. >> what will you play for us now? >> we're going to play a segment of a chorls for flute and clarinet. >> lovely. i'll let you play. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ snoet
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♪ ♪ >> thank you to anthony and demarre. we're going to be right back. there is still more nerdland. there's a reason no one says "easy like monday morning." sundays are the warrior's day to unplug and recharge. what if this feeling could last all week? with centurylink as your trusted partner, it can.
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last saturday while the formidable joy-ann reid led us across afall sis, i took my viewers across another kind. i took on the rock and roll half marathon. we were running with the human rights campaign as athletes for equality to raise money for the lgbt americans. as i am a political nerd, i am incredibly inspired by running a course that included views of the washington monument,
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potomac, and two unforgettable miles directly towards the dome. i spotted a hand-lettered hash tag sign and in the final 100 yards, i don't know who, someone shouted, go, mhp and i managed to pick up my heavy feet and every step of those miles, reminding me that we should always do hard things with positive and optimistic people on your team. the struggle continues but there's no reason it can't be fun. and then there was sarah. every time we came to a ill had, my impulse was to slow down, shorten my stride, put my head down and just endure it. sarah saw the hills, picked up her pace, and sprinted. i am serious. she sprinted the hills. in my defense, i am almost 40 and sarah is 22. but i watched in awe as she
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sprinted the hills, crested, waited and then waited until i huffed and puffed to meet her. i have an amazing life and i feel extraordinary blessed but sometimes i am exhausted by it all. the seven days of week of work and my duties as a professor during the week and shows every weekend, carving out time to be a decent mother, attentive spouse, and occasionally check in on my bff. we all have our hills. many far more difficult than mine. illness and loss, economic insecurity, uncertainty, but when i hit the hills, i duck my head, hold my breath, and just try to power through them. when i watched sarah i was reminded there's another way. we can, within reason, choose to sprint the hills, to tackle the big challenges with elation and energy and enthusiasm for seeing what is at the top because sometimes at the top there's
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someone urging us on and offering us gum me bears and i am so grateful for sarah's lesson, sprint the hills. so to my friend chris hayes, my colleague for more than a year on early weekend mornings, we're so excited about your opportunities on weekdays at 8:00, you have taken on a wonderful challenge and if it ever seems hard, sprint the hills. that's our show for today. thanks to you at home for watching. i'm going to see you again saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. coming up right now, "weekends with alex witt." ♪ ♪ pop goes the world [ female announcer ] pop in a whole new kind of clean with tide pods. just one pac has the stain removal power of 6 caps of the bargain brand. pop in. stand out.
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